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Lockdown High



Special Issue on Labor and Punishment

WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society is calling for papers for a special issue devoted to labor and punishment. Scholars interested in being considered for this special issue should submit a paper to the journal by December 1, 2011.

The US has seen explosive growth in its prison population, ushering in a historically unprecedented era of mass incarceration. On any given day, more than two million individuals are incarcerated (either in jail or in prison) and as many as seven million individuals – roughly one out of every thirty-one adults – are under some form of correctional supervision (either incarcerated, on probation or on parole). Rates of incarceration among black men are particularly staggering: although they constitute less than ten percent of the U.S. population, they represent over thirty-five percent of the country’s population behind bars. Given the devastating social and economic consequences of incarceration, it is no exaggeration to say that the prison both reflects and reproduces racial and class inequality. These facts have inspired a resurgence of critical attention in a wide array of disciplines to the causes, contours and consequences of America’s imprisonment binge.

This special issue of WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society will examine the wide-ranging implications of these trends for work, labor markets and the labor movement. It will both foreground the ways in which the politics of punishment are enmeshed with the politics of labor and shed a long overdue spotlight on the plight of some of society’s most vulnerable workers (incarcerated and formerly-incarcerated). The guest editors of this issue will consider original empirical papers on a wide array of topics that address the intersection of labor and punishment.

Examples of possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• The experiences of formerly-incarcerated individuals in the labor market and in the workplace • Collaboration or conflict between prisoner “re-entry” and movements for workplace justice • Prison guards’ unions and the politics of imprisonment • Criminal background checks, employer discrimination and “ban the box” initiatives • Historical or contemporary analyses of prison labor • Organizing and collective actions of prisoners (protests, labor strikes, hunger strikes, riots) • Case studies of targeted apprenticeship or job-training/job-placement programs for formerly incarcerated individuals • Socialist alternatives to ending incarceration and prison labor

To be considered for this special issue, please email a copy of your paper to Gretchen Purser (, Daisy Rooks ( and Immanuel Ness ( by December 1, 2011.

For more information, on submission guidelines to WUSA, go to our webpage:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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